Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.
When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan, most of my food shopping was done at outdoor markets. I really came to appreciate the social interaction and feel of community at these markets where each vendor specializes in selling only one or two types of products. This forces you so interact with so many people just to make a pot of soup. There are the onions and garlic vendor, the spice vendor, the meat butcher or the chicken vendor, and vendors for each kind of vegetable like the one pictured above. As a stranger living in a strange land with few friends and no family, the markets gave me an automatic community to interact with. My market routine became an essential part of my daily life. It was a huge shock when I returned to the United States where I could buy everything I needed at one supermarket and only have to interact with the cashier. A bigger shock was when I used the self check-out and didn’t have to speak to a soul. It literally made me feel soulless and I really missed all the vendors I knew at the outdoor markets of Uzbekistan.
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